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Under the Influence: Chinese Colonialism Works Without Ideas

Friday, Sept. 18, 2009

When I was in Ecuador two years ago, a businessman named Ivan excoriated me about the limits Washington placed on business that local fishing firms could do with the U.S. The conversation went on for a while, but when it ended, he promptly introduced me to his teenage daughter and pleaded with me to speak to her so that she could practice her English. In fact, she spoke eloquently and fluently, but the irony was no less striking: The gringos to the north offered little opportunity to Latin America, but the best chance for Ivan's daughter to succeed -- leaving for America -- required English.

These days the situation has changed. Public schools in Ecuador still teach English, but parents who can afford private schools are opting for something different. The children of the country's elite now learn another language, one that perhaps offers more opportunities for the future: Chinese. ...

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